Thoughts on cars with 4 star NHTSA ratings


Senior Community Member
I would appreciate some thoughts on buying a car with a 4 star NHTSA rating. We are looking into getting a vehicle for our 17 year old son. Our top choices are 5 vehicles with 5 star ratings, but I am curious on how safe 4 star rating vehicles are - specifically the Nissan Sentra and the Hyndai Elantra. We might be able to get more affordable deals on these 2 vehicles.

Last edited:


CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
I would not have any issue buying a newer (2011+) vehicle that has a 4-star rating, especially if they also have good IIHS test results.

Personally, I would tend to avoid any vehicle that has any "3-star" or "Marginal" results in an actual crash test from the NHTSA or IIHS if other options are available at similar cost.

For a teen driver, a 2017 or 2018 Toyota Corolla has great crash test results overall and even the base L trim has an IIHS "Superior" rated auto brake crash avoidance system STANDARD. I wish we had one!


Senior Community Member
Thank you! That was very helpful. A Corolla is one of our top choices (along with the Honda Civic and Chevy Cruze). It's pretty much going to come down to who can offer us a deal that makes it affordable for everyone. (kiddo needs to pay part of it ;) )

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